The Sun God, Surya, who stands for vigor and life force, is worshipped at the Chhath Puja to promote well-being, prosperity, and advancement. Other names for Chhath Puja include Surya Shashti, Chhath, Chhathi, Chhath Parv, Dala Puja, and Dala Chhath.
The Sun God, the source of all powers, is honored throughout the four-day celebration. The Vrati fast is observed by Sun God devotees. Chhath Puja is held twice a year, once in the summer and once in the winter.
Kartika Shukla Shashti, the sixth day of the Karthika month, is observed as Karthik Chhath. This event occurs every year in either October or November, according to the Hindu calendar. Another is Chaiti Chhath, a summer holiday held a few days after Holi.
According to legend, Chhath Puja rituals are more stringent than those for other Hindu celebrations. They necessitate fasting for an extended length of time, swimming in rivers or other bodies of water, praying while standing in the water, spending a lot of time facing the sun, and offering “prasad” to the sun at sunrise and dusk. No food with salt, onions, or garlic will be prepared during the event.
It takes place over the course of four days. The first day of Nahay Khay is a day of fasting and a ritual bath. When they fast, women can only eat one meal per day. Food has to be cooked at home. Lohanda and Kharna have to fast for the whole second day. At dusk, prasad is eaten to break the fast. Prasad often comes in the form of kheer and chapati. Then, you have to go without water for 36 hours. On the third day, when the sun goes down, prasad is cooked at home and given to the river. Turmeric is used to color the sarees that the women wear to this event.
On Usha Arghya, the last day of the festival, people make offerings to the rising sun along the riverbank. When the devotees break their fast after 36 hours, the festival is over. Prasad is given to every member of the household. Prasad is a very important part of this ceremony. It is made of rice, fresh fruits, dried fruits, wheat, jaggery, almonds, coconuts, and ghee. Thekua is a wheat-flour biscuit that many people like.
Now that you are familiar with the practices, let’s examine the history of Chhath Puja.
According to Hindu tradition, Draupadi and the Pandavas performed the Chhath Puja to reclaim their kingdom and discover solutions to their problems. According to another mythology, Karna, the son of Lord Surya and Kunti, enjoyed doing Chhath Puja.
Moreover, it is stated that ancient Vedic yogis would expose themselves to direct sunlight in order to obtain the sun’s blessings and perform the Chhath puja.
Therefore in 2023, Chhath Puja is celebrated on Sunday, 19 November, and ends on Wednesday, 22 November.